Floods: damaged traditional musical instruments in UiTM Shah Alam storage

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A university staff member gently holds and drains water from a traditional flood-soaked geduk drum (used for wayang kulit performances), another volunteer slowly places a cracked and wet classical guitar on a bench to let it dry, while the rest of the students Arrange an assortment of brass instruments, flight cases, and traditional instruments, including gamelan (gong) stands, on large rugs in a parking lot.

These are some of the rescue scenes coming from the Faculty of Music at Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Malaysia in Shah Alam in Selangor this week, as teachers and students began to slowly clean and dry all kinds of instruments after the catastrophic floods last weekend. .

Located in the Section 17 campus in Shah Alam, the music faculty’s storage rooms were swept up to their knees in floodwaters, leaving a trail of destruction and broken instruments.

Professor Tazul Izan Tajuddin, Dean of the Faculty of Music, acknowledges that the atmosphere on campus was in despair when news broke that the flooding had affected his music storage. But there was no time to waste as a group of professors and students gathered on Monday to save the instruments floating or submerged in storage.

Instruments being dried on the UiTM Shah Alam campus. Photo: Faculty of Music, UiTM Shah Alam

“It was hard to imagine the amount of equipment soaking in the water after hearing the news. But we had to act quickly and remove what could be salvaged. There were all kinds of instruments in stock, including orchestral instruments, traditional instruments and concert backlines, mixers and electronic equipment … nothing was spared by the flood waters ”, explains Dr Tazul.

“In the case of traditional instruments, many of them were badly damaged because they used wood and skin (of leather). Some instruments already had kembang (developed) and masuk air (water damaged) given the time they were submerged, ”he adds.

The space allocated was essentially the one-stop-shop for rehearsals, tour preparation, and storage of music lessons (including textbooks, books) for the UiTM music fraternity.

Kamrul, professor at the Faculty of Music, brandishes his broken Turkish gambus.  Photo: Kamrul HussinKamrul, professor at the Faculty of Music, brandishes his broken Turkish gambus. Photo: Kamrul Hussin

Kamrul Hussin, the founder of the traditional group Geng Wak Long, who also teaches traditional music at UiTM, also saw some damaged personal instruments in his teachers’ room.

“I lost a Turkish gambus that I bought for US $ 4,000 (RM17,000) about 20 years ago in the weekend flooding. I kept it on campus for students can use it during class. For first semester students, I usually have bamboo instruments (tegunggak from Sabah) and a set of gendang (drums) to lend them out. Most of these instruments are badly damaged now ” , explains Kamrul.

After the water is drained, Dr Tazul mentions that his team also examines the inventory to see which instruments can be placed in another storage space on campus and used for future performances.

Fortunately, we don’t have any immediate live broadcasts that were affected. The water has receded, but no one really knows the extent of the damage yet. Certainly there will be instruments that will need to be thrown away. if they can’t be fixed, ”he says.

On the UiTM campus, volunteers are also bagging certain areas of the music faculty as a flood prevention measure.


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